Entrepreneurial stories

"You can do anything mediocre, but I just don't like that."

CM.com is the only listed company in Breda. CM.com is active worldwide and employs more than a thousand people, half of whom work in Breda. It started twenty years ago as ClubMessage, the origin of the CM name. Jeroen van Glabbeek and Gilbert Gooijers met in high school and devised a system that allowed discotheques to send text messages with entertainment information to their customers. Breda’s Highstreet Nightclub was their first customer. I speak with Jeroen van Glabbeek co-founder and CEO of CM.com. Jeroen: "You can find our technology in many places in society. It is used whenever you communicate with companies with your mobile phone. For example, here in the Netherlands, if you communicate with the government with your DigiD. Or if you cast a vote during the Eurovision song contest or buy tickets for the Grand Prix. It's all made possible by the technology we're largely developed here in Breda."

Jeroen van Glabbeek CEO/Co-founder, CM.com

Video: Jeroen van...

Video: Jeroen van Glabbeek talks about CM.com

In this video, Jeroen van Glabbeek, CEO and co-founder of CM.com, talks about his company, the bond with the city of Breda and international entrepreneurship.

What is entrepreneurship for you?

Every day I reexamine where we are. People often think very pragmatically. They ask themselves the question: where do I want to be in five years' time and what do I need to get there? Instead, I ask myself the question: What is the best thing to do today for our customers, for our colleagues. My experience is that you get a step further every day. For example, CM.com employs 1,000 people. It is not my dream to have 2000 employees within 2 years. And then that it would be twice as much fun here. In principle, I don't expect that. I'm just working with a group of people to make beautiful things and do fun things, while adding value for customers every day.

So, you value having fun and working together in a casual way?

When I studied technical business administration in Eindhoven, we sometimes visited companies. They looked miserable, not fun at all. The environment was ugly, sometimes it smelled and often there was a dull atmosphere. And then Gilbert and I thought, "There’s no way! Imaging working at one of these companies for another 40 years or 50 years. We’re way too young" That was our motivation to set up an enjoyable company where we would like working. And then eventually you realize that you also want to be a good employer.

What do you think that means?

It's in little things. For example, people can have free lunch together and order dinner that is freshly made in their own kitchen. We organize a lot of fun things that make it worthwhile for our employees to come and work here. And when people are comfortable in their own skin, you notice that in each other and that's good. I was recently at Avans University of Applied Sciences and at BUAS (Breda University of Applied Science). There it is also so much more pleasant, lighter, and relaxed than when I was at school. That was great to see. We spend so much time at work and school. Then it is fine if there is a pleasant and healthy atmosphere.

Why is it that CM.com's head office is still located in Breda?

I think Breda itself is a great city, but we also hear it from our employees who come here from all over the world for training and education. There are two things that stand out to them about Breda.

One of the things is that it is very green. We should appreciate that and, I think, even contribute to that. The other thing is that it's very safe. In principle, you can walk through the major city park, the Valkenberg, at night. That is possible and you can’t say that about everywhere in the world.

You say that we should value the greenery in Breda and that we should even contribute to it. Can you elaborate?

The city inspires me. For example, we have invested considerably in the garden around our building. That is inspired by the ideas of Paul De Beer. He used to be an alderman here and he already prioritized nature in the city. Our company is situated in a bit boring, old-fashioned industrial area but when you see how beautiful it is getting... Perhaps one day we will win a prize for the most beautiful company garden in the Netherlands. That would be nice. You can do anything mediocre, but I just don't like that myself.

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